For Chowhounds who bake or do home canning, summer often means pitting pounds of cherries. Some count on a good cherry pitter to get the job done. While it's "one of those annoying one task tools that clutter up the utensil drawer," Junie D says, if you "make cherry jam, ice cream, clafouti, sauce, or anything with more than about 10 cherries, you should own one." She loves her German-made metal Westmark model. Bean Counter likes the plastic chute on this OXO cherry pitter, which "prevents a lot of juice spray."
Many hounds eschew buying a special gadget, however, and use simple implements they say work just as well or better. JoanN uses a chopstick: "Just push it through and the pit pops out." You can also partially straighten a paper clip and used the curved end to pull out the pits, says jackie de, while megjp plucks them out with a pair of clean needle-nose pliers. If you're feeling crafty, vircabutar likes this YouTube video, which demonstrates how to make a cherry pitter from a cheap, lightweight table fork.
If it's softer sour cherries you're pitting, consider using your fingers. Hold the cherry in one hand and pluck out the pit with the thumb and forefinger of the other. It's faster and simpler than using a tool, says TNExplorer. If you do decide to use a pitter, stick your sour cherries in the freezer until firm but not frozen through, advises modayski.
Cherries image from Shutterstock